‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ Recap: “The Asset”

By October 9, 2013

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Somewhere, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” took a turn for the worse. Though the first two weeks were enjoyable, action-packed, and intriguing, this week’s was full of undecipherable technobabble and over-used CGI.

We start with a S.H.I.E.L.D. envoy being swept off the street and into the air. Cars and trucks fly, then crash back to the earth. The cargo they’re carrying is actually a scientist, Dr. Franklin Hall, and a private army carts him off.

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Now, we return to the S.H.I.E.L.D. plane, where an impatient Ward is trying to teach a whiny Skye how to be a real agent. This mostly involves push-ups, pull-ups, and punching a bag. Ward also teaches Skye how to disarm a gunman, but is unconvinced she has what it takes the pull the trigger.

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Fitz-Simmons are aghast to learn of Hall’s kidnapping – he was their beloved teacher. Hall, by contrast, seems perfectly content to have been taken by his ex-partner, Ian Quinn. Quinn wants him to finish a project he started many years ago, utilizing a gravity-altering device. Fitz-Simmons try to explain to Skye what the device does, but even in their “English” translation for the high-school drop-out, it’s still a flurry of big, confusing words.

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Skye decides to go undercover with Quinn, having procured an invitation to his party. No one’s more annoyed about this than Quinn, who neither trusts her nor thinks she’s ready for field duty. Still, Coulson sends her in. At the party, Quinn catches her snooping around. She temporarily fools him (and the audience) into believing that she’s only pretending to work for S.H.I.E.L.D. Later, however, it becomes clear that this was merely a tactic to get him to trust her, and she signals Fitz-Simmons.

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At this point, there’s a disturbance: Coulson and Ward have finally broken through a high-tech fence. It’s gold, looks a bit like a net, and seems all-around ridiculous, as though the producers were trying too hard to make the show flashy.

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Quinn realizes that Skye has fooled him. She manages to disarm him and then, unable to shoot, jumps out the window and into the pool below. Ward then takes out a bunch of Quinn’s goons and comes to her rescue.

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Coulson, meanwhile, discovers that Hall isn’t ready to leave. He’s planning to destroy the compound so his work doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Coulson isn’t willing to let him kill innocent people, so as they stand on the wall (thanks to some misplaced gravity), he shoots the glass panel guarding Hall’s gravity machine. Hall goes flying…and this is where it gets really bad.

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Hall is eaten by his machine. He descends in slow-motion through shattered glass, and then whirls around inside the colorful device. He’s sucked in, disappearing into the pile of goo…and it’s not a quick process. Instead, it occurs in flashes, over and over again, his face frozen in terror. But instead of actually looking frightening, the scene is comically bad.

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Fortunately, we’re now near the episode’s end. Skye and Ward have a heart-to-heart, where Skye confirms that she’s dedicated to the cause. May tells Coulson that she’s ready to go back into the field. And then there’s Hall’s hand, stretching out of the goo, locked away behind a heavy door. Does this mean Hall is coming back as the Big Bad?

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What do you think, loyal readers? Was this episode a complete disaster, or did you love all the tech talk and CGI?